Real Madrid vs. Al Ain score: Modric, Ramos lead Los Blancos to Club World Cup title
This one was never in doubt, as Real rolled
For the third year in a row, Real Madrid has won the Club World Cup. The Spanish club, winners of the last three Champions Leagues, beat Al Ain 4-1 on Saturday in Dubai to lift the coveted trophy, its first major trophy since Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus in the summer. It was a game that was always expected to go Real's way, as asking Al Ain to follow up the stunning win over River Plate by beating Real was going to be improbable.
This win is a bright spot in what has been a really rough beginning to the 2018-19 campaign for Los Blancos, who are on their second manager of the season with Santiago Solari replacing Julen Lopetegui in November. Luka Modric, Marcos Llorente and Sergio Ramos scored for Real, and the club also got an own goal in the added time.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
It was simply too easy
From the beginning, Real dominated the ball and finished with 68 percent possession. Real produced 24 total shots, nine of which went on goal. Al Ain had just four shots on goal. That's how most thought the game would go anyway. Every team Real has faced this season, you could argue, is more talented than this Al Ain team.
Real was always going to have a ton of chances at goal, and the team converted time and time again, though it took a little while to get going.
Modric scored the opener 14 minutes in, but Real didn't get another goal till the hour mark. That goal, from Llorente, was a beauty and ended up being the winner:
Ramos appears to send message to Ronaldo
So captain Ramos scored the third with a signature header off a corner kick that felt like so many of the other goals he's scored. But after the goal he did a Ronald-like celebration. Take a look:
A closer look at the celebration:
Whether that was throwing shade or serving as a tribute is hard to tell. Ramos and Ronaldo always seemed to get along just fine, but maybe this was Ramos' way of saying, "We don't need you."
The problem is, they do need him (more below).
It's another trophy, but this team has a long way to go
It's a numb feeling for them at this point, probably. Real Madrid won another trophy. But you can expect it to be the last one of the season. Real is eight points back of first-place Barcelona in La Liga, struggling to show a positive form in the Champions League and it wouldn't be all that shocking to see them upset in the Copa del Rey. If they were to win any, the Copa del Rey would be the most likely, but all seem like a long shot at this point.
Not having Ronaldo has been a huge problem for this team, as it hasn't been able to place him. Consider that through 16 league games, Real has 24 goals. Through 16, Barca had 46.
A superstar is needed in attack to pair with Gareth Bale (Eden Hazard, anyone?) if this team really wants to contend in La Liga and Champions League. Until then, they are just a second-tier contender.
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